Friday, July 14, 2006

[UK] Make Promises Happen Live8 Travis's plea to Blair

from The Mirror

ROCK stars Travis yesterday fixed a giant yellow note on the front of No10 to gee up the G8.

The band - one of the headline acts at Live8 last year - wants to remind Tony Blair of his vows to Africa as the world's top leaders prepare to meet again tomorrow. Last year's message from campaigners was Make Poverty History.

This year Travis had a different one: Make Promises Happen.

Frontman Fran Healy said: "A year ago, I remember feeling really optimistic.

"This year it's as if everything's moved on and Africa's fallen down the list." There is wide disappointment amongst campaigners that progress on trade has stalled and aid is not increasing fast enough.

As G8 leaders gather in St Petersburg, Russia, Africa barely registers on an agenda dominated by energy, security and infectious disease.

But Mr Blair is desperate to recommit the big powers to deals made at Gleneagles - although Russian president Vladimir Putin has excluded Africa from the main agenda.

Mr Blair's official spokesman said top priority was seeking agreement on upcoming world trade talks, which Mr Blair hopes will help Africa.

And yesterday a YouGov survey of 2,198 people showed one in five has written to a politician about world poverty, 18 per cent gave to charity and nearly half bought fair-trade goods.

Meanwhile, International Development Secretary Hilary Benn unveiled a £100mil-lion fund to fight Third World corruption.

Setting out aid policy for five years, Mr Benn told MPs: "Long-term progress will only be made through effective governance and by people with the voice to hold governments to account."

The fund will be used to build up the free press, trade unions and parliamentary politics. Britain also plans to double its spending on education by 2010 to more than a billion pounds.

Water and sanitation is set to increase, from £95million to £200million.

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